Fourth Avenue floods over — and city can’t fix it until 2013

The flooding was so bad that this car was actually lifted out of its spot and floated a few feet into Fourth Avenue.
Community Newspaper Group / Alfred Ng

Businesses along Fourth Avenue in Park Slope were again flooded during Sunday’s epic storm — a problem that the city vowed to fix last year, but now says it can’t even begin to address until 2013.

Volunteers spent eight hours first defending — then cleaning — the Root Hill Cafe from the largest single-day rainfall in city history, a downpour so massive that water spewed out the sewers and a parked car floated three feet into the street.

It’s a common problem along the stretch near President Street — an issue that’s frustrated the Root Hill owners for years.

“[We made] the city aware of this five years ago,” said co-owner Michelle Giancola.

This was the shocking scene in the middle of Sunday’s storm at the corner Fourth Avenue and Carroll Street. Yes, that’s Park Sloper Brauna Prosser wading into the flood.
Photo by Stephen Kelley

City workers have made some efforts in the past, replacing some sewer infrastructure as recently as 2010, but the flood waters, which sends filthy, oily water rising as high as car tires, never go away.

Customers, however, do. The floods have cost Root Hill thousands in repairs, cleaning and lost business. Nearby, the owner of Family Car Service says he’s lost tens of thousands.

Next, the business owners will lose their patience.

City officials told The Brooklyn Paper this week that they won’t begin major repairs until 2013. At that time, the Department of Environmental Protection will start a $9.4-million project to install “high level” storm sewers along Third and Fourth avenues between Carroll and Douglass streets, said spokesman Farrell Sklerov.

During floods, the rain reaches up to three feet high. Only a plywood barricade holds back the deluge.
Photo by Stephen Kelley

“We’re mad — that’s weird [that it will take so long],” said Robinson Rodriguez, a driver at Family Car Service.

Flooding on Fourth Avenue has been an issue since 1922, as the immortal Gowanus Lounge reports, but its effect will also deluge long-term efforts to turn the strip into a grand “Brooklyn’s Boulevard,” a cause being championed by Borough President Markowitz.

Root Hill co-owner Maria Bowen doesn’t think she can wait that long.

“Please make it quicker,” she said. “Every time it happens we wonder if we’re going to make it through that storm.”

Maria Bowen owns the Root Hill Cafe, which is at the epicenter of the Fourth Avenue flood zone.
Community Newspaper Group / Alfred Ng

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